starless sky
the fisherman extinguishes
his cigarette


starless sky
the glow of the fisherman’s


I thought I would post both versions of this poem that I have been playing with… any comments to help me decide which image is clearest would be greatly appreciated.



Filed under poetry

40 responses to “

  1. Vuong

    You are on to something brilliant here Graham. I think for the first one, it opens up a lot of doors for ‘creative-interpretive’ possibilities, makes you think about what’s happening there. The second haiku is the clearer image. If I had to choose which one was my favourite, that’s hard.. I would say I like them both equally πŸ™‚ But what would interest me is, what is your preference….? Do you choose the one that stirs the reader’s imagination, or the one with the clearer image. Dun dun dun :S

    • gnunn

      My favourite is the first for the reasons you have said here V… I was hoping it would open up a greater stretch of the sky / mind with the light gone out. Thanks for your thoughts! G

  2. I like the first one best, especially if you dropped the ‘the’ in front of ‘fisherman’.

    It’s hard to compare them, though, because the difference between extinguishing and continuing to let the cigarette glow, tells a different story respectively (for me at least).

    Nice work either way πŸ™‚

    Miguel (another Australian poet)

    • gnunn

      My favourite is also the first Miguel… do you think ‘a’ instead of ‘the’ works best on the second line of this poem? Thanks for your thoughts, G

      • an ‘a’ definitely feels better to me. Were it my poem, I’d lose the definite article altogether, somehow feels more ‘Kerouac-esque’ – but I guess it comes down to personal style, and one must retain one’s own style! πŸ™‚

      • gnunn

        Thanks again for your generous consideration of these poems Miguel.

  3. Max

    the second one elicits the clearer image, but the first one is better in my opinion. i would go with that one, and not change a thing. “the” works much better than “a”.

  4. usual..I’m flowing against the tide…but I like the second one.

  5. Without reading the comments above. The first offers a blackness, the fisherman removing his light out of honour to the dark sky, thus bowing to forces. The second paints the fisherman as a solitary figure offending the only light. They should both stand, with a third to complete a trilogy. I’ve probably made it worse, haven’t I?

  6. I go for the 2nd as well. Though I really miss the word extinguish in that version. Somehow, after having it in the first it just need to, somehow, be there. Sorry I cannot find a way to show it myself.
    But both have their powers.
    Another way would be perhaps to add another version and have them all together. Sometimes I find it intensifies everything.

  7. littleplumj

    The second one!

  8. Tough to choose, Graham – but I like the almost lonely feel to the second. While I love the sense of action in the first, the second is my fav!
    The third one is nice too, it’s got a long sense of time, he’s been there for who knows how long, having to light another cigarette? They do work as three too, huh? Nice suggestion, Mark – and great finish, Graham!

  9. They’re such different poems. In the first one, you have a strong narrative thrust – who is this fisherman and why has he extinguished his cigarette? Is he up to no good? Love it. In the second one, we have some visual beauty. It is very haunting but I’m a huge fan of narrative and prefer the first. x

    • gnunn

      Thanks for this Sandra. It’s been fascinating to read how people have read the poems. I am still leaning to the first myself, but am also beginning to think the second is the purest haiku.

      • I agree with you about the second, and think that if I offered you two versions of a haiku, one more interesting and the other purer, you would recommend the second every time. And, in any case, I disagree that the second is less interesting. It just needs to sit longer.

      • gnunn

        Thanks for weighing in on this one Chris… the discussion has encouraged several new poems! And yes, it’s true… I would recommend the purer haiku every time.

  10. And now I’ve read these comments, I have something to add: I love Mark Jackson. Is he single? :p

  11. Deborah Norrie-Jones

    I like the first one, it goes further…

  12. Hi Graham, not sure if any-old-body is allowed to join this discussion but, for the record, I like the first one more because of the sense of melancholy it evokes as the fisherman seems to yield to the sky. Then again I like the third one too… Thanks for the daily dose of poetry.

    • gnunn

      All are welcome Fiona, but you are most certainly not any-old-body! I love your reading of the first poem; the idea that the fisherman yields the sky. Have been meaning to ask how the launch of APJ was? And if we don’t talk before, have a joyous holiday season!

      • Thanks Graham, but I think there must be another Fiona Bell out there, because I don’t know you?? I’m a FNQ writer/poet who enjoys your blog. Anyway have a great Christmas too. πŸ™‚

      • gnunn

        There most definitely is! I am hopefully traveling north in June next year to do some readings and workshops, so you never know, we might bump into each other then. Have a wonderful christmas and please feel free to comment any time! All thoughts are welcome!

      • fionabell

        Oh, are you coming to Cairns? If so I’ll keep a look out.

      • gnunn

        Not sure as yet Fiona, but I will be sure to announce my travels on the blog. Have a joyous day tomorrow, G

  13. The second one evokes a much stronger image for me, but that’s the subjectiveness of poetry πŸ™‚

  14. They’re both firecrackers – complementary (no. 1), contrasting (no. 2) and what would be the third:
    starless sky
    the fishermen dead
    by his cigarettes
    (sorry – couldn’t resist πŸ˜‰ )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s